ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 8, 2015) — The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) celebrated the stars of Florida’s hospitality industry at its Shades of Pink Installation and Awards Gala on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. One of the industry award winners was Russ Kimball, General Manager of the Sheraton Sand Key Resort on Clearwater Beach, and he won 2015 Hotelier of the Year.
Kimball began his career as General Manager of the Sheraton in 1975. 40 years later, he is still serving in that position. His dedication to customer satisfaction, non-stop reinvestment in facilities and continuous advancement of quality standards has brought significant attention to the hotel, leading to it being ranked consistently in the “Top 10” for customer satisfaction in North American Sheraton Hotels.
Kimball’s leadership extends beyond hotel operations through his service as an international marketing pioneer for Florida. As an original board member of VISIT FLORIDA, he championed the establishment of international offices and to this day continues to travel as an ambassador. He has served for more than 30 years as a member and now Vice Chairman of the Pinellas Tourism Development Council and is engaged in numerous associations dedicated to enhancing regional and national hospitality. The city of Clearwater awarded him the title of “Mr. Clearwater” in 2010, and he has also been inducted into the Hall of Fame for both VISIT FLORIDA and the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University.
“I never really thought about it before,” Kimball said, “but after 40 years, I figure we have seen just over 3 million people; that’s a lot of great memories for families, companies, organizations and our staff. I admit I am a creature of habit and ‘make my rounds,’ but we also embrace change and keep up with technology and modern comforts. This is what I do and I am grateful to everyone who enables me to do it each and every day.”